Stock Portfolio Updates: Blend of Long, Short & Cash Generates Gains During Market Meltdown
By: Christopher Mistal
September 10, 2015
Simply put, pre-election year 2015 has been a disappointment for the market. Slowing, sluggish global growth, dragged down by a rapidly slowing Chinese economy and the expectation of the first interest hike in the U.S. since 2006 have weighed on markets. Compared to previous pre-election years, DJIA is now lagging by a sizable 20.1%. S&P 500 is behind by 17.6% while NASDAQ trails by a whopping 25.3% off its average. Even when comparing this Seventh Year of a presidential administration to the average of past Seventh Years, 2015 still falls short.
[DJIA Seventh Years] 
[S&P 500 Seventh Years]
[NASDAQ Seventh Years]
Looking at the above charts, it appears that typical early-fourth-quarter-pre-election-year weakness has arrived early this year (Seventh Years are heavily influenced by the crash of 1987). A retest of the August low is likely. Provided the outlook for global growth does not deteriorate further, history suggests a fourth quarter turn around for the market.  
Stock Portfolio Updates 
Over the past four and a half weeks since last update, through the market’s close on September 9, S&P 500 plunged 7.7%. Russell 2000 was down 6.1% over the same time period. Collectively the three Almanac Investor Stock Portfolios advanced 0.2%. Our stock portfolio was aided by short positions established throughout July and into early August as well as a sizable cash position. Mainly due to the number of short positions, the Large-Cap portfolio performed best, gaining 3.1%. Mid-cap stocks also registered a modest gain of 0.1% while small-caps slipped 0.3%.
Despite all of the volatility during recent weeks, not a single stock position was stopped out. Global Brass and Copper Holdings (BRSS) continued its stampede higher, now up 66.5% since last December. Its string of new 52-week highs has not been stopped by broad market weakness. Amerco Inc (UHAL) and Jetblue Airways (JBLU) are also higher now than they were at the start of August and are showing gains of 88.2% and 94.4% (partial profits have been taken already) respectively. 
Of the remaining short positions, Bluebird Bio (BLUE) remains the best performing with a 14.8% profit as of yesterday’s close. Other double-digit winning short trades include Praxair (PX) and Blueknight Energy (BKEP). All Stop Losses associated with short positions have been updated. As the often treacherous second half of September and end of the third quarter is quickly approaching, all positions are on Hold. See table below for updated Stop Losses.  
[Almanac Investor Stock Portfolios – September 9, 2015 Closes]
Disclosure Note: At press time, officers of the Hirsch Organization, or the accounts they control, did not hold any positions in the stocks mentioned in this article.